Saturday, December 28, 2013

quilts for christmas

 this is as far as things went: 3 quilts needing handbinding, two quilts basted but not quilted, two blocks for the 6th quilt, a handful of applique flowers with decorative stitching for the pillow sham.

rather than wrap everything, i opted to lay the quilts (and pieces) out with the children's stockings. in our house, santa brings one large present, unwrapped, and a stocking full of small goodies (bubble bath, lip balm/gloss, a few sugar treats).

the stockings were made by marmee, my mother, and are the same style as the ones i grew up with. the boys have plaid prints, the girls have holly floral prints, and marmee cross stitched everyone's name on the cuff. (to preserve privacy, i turned the stocking around to protect names for the pictures.) when i chose the pattern of plaids and holly florals, starting with our two original stockings, i had no idea there would eventually be so many more holly florals than plaids, or that finding some i liked would be so difficult! (side note: there are two stockings missing in this photo. that red stocking doesn't belong here, it's d1's ornamental stocking for her bedroom, and s2's plaid stocking was elsewhere when i shot this.)

i waited until there was at least some daylight to shoot the quilts on Christmas morning, with the children impatiently waiting on the stairs. this is another tradition that comes from my family: they can't go down to the tree and presents until everyone is awake and must wait for us to take their photo lined up on the stairs together. then they are allowed in, youngest to oldest. but we drag out the suspense a bit longer by making everyone sit in a circle on the family room floor and share what they are thankful for. as parents, we love torturing them this way! as a child, it was a bit of agony to suffer all this before getting my gifts, but as we matured, my siblings and i grew to appreciate and treasure the delayed gratification enforced on us by our parents. now we do the same to our own children.

on to the quilts! i hastily snapped some photos, so excuse the quality, as the children were waiting and clamoring to be released on the stairs. because there are so many piles of stockings and santa gifts, santa takes them down and spreads them around the room.

s2's "bandwidth" quilt

s1's two completed blocks for his wonky stacked coins quilt
 s1 seemed pleased with the beginnings of his quilt, but was much more excited about his new compound bow and arrows. what 13 year old boy wouldn't be?

finally, almost 3 years later, d2's "taite" is ready for her (with a bit of binding to go, still).
 she made a great point of saying over and over, to anyone who commented on her quilt, "i've been waiting 3 years for this." i suppose i am rather begrudgingly forgiven now.

d4's applique flowers for her pillow sham to coordinate with her "at last" quilt
 i have to point out here that of all the children, the one who got the small pile of unfinished flowers gave me the biggest reaction. my sweet 5 year old excitedly exclaimed, "Mama, did you make these for ME?!" when i told her they were for a special pillow for her bed and that i wanted her to help me decide how it would look, she was quite pleased and thanked me profusely. sweet, sweet girl.

d1's "plus a diamond" quilt, all done except handbinding
 "mom! you need to finish this so i can snuggle it." that and a thank you hug were all the attention the quilt got.

d3's "twirly" quilt
 while d3 did not get very excited about her quilt, neither did she throw a tantrum that it was this one. i count that as a positive response. i did hear her refer to it later as "my new quilt that has the animals on it," so we may yet have to do some negotiating or explaining with it. i showed her where i had quilted her name into the stippling and she replied, "that doesn't look like my name at all!" i explained the cursive letters to her. "well, why didn't you stitch them the normal way?," was her confused response. it was beyond my capacity to explain to a 7 year old the intricacies of fmq, especially when she was too excited about her other presents to care.

d5's "paris daydreams" quilt
 there are so many quilts around this house that it went right over the two year old's head that this one was for her. she was much more happy with and interested in the new pair of shoes, the play cell phone, and mini purse santa brought her than a piece of fabric that's been lying around for months anyway. oh, and the candy. the candy was the best of all.

aside from their big presents, which each loved (good job, dad!), there was one gift that dominated the day. after everything had been opened, and breakfast eaten, i brought out my one last gift: lego mini people. we discovered these mini people collections this summer when travelling. three times a year, lego puts out a collection of 16 mini figures that come in sealed, opaque packages. without seeing who you are getting, you try to collect all 16. the kids have enjoyed the two series we have so far so much that i shopped amazon to get some of the previous series we missed. putting together their new people and playing with them occupied my children for the better part of the afternoon.
so my quilts may not have gone over hugely, but i did get the satisfaction of finding the perfect gift for them after all. i'm so glad i didn't kill myself trying to finish the quilts by Christmas. i would have been sadly disappointed if i had. instead, i enjoyed the season more. the quilts will be done soon enough and i am confident they will be well-loved and used.
i hope everyone had a very merry and blessed Christmas wherever in the world you are. despite being in the northern hemisphere, i've never lived in a climate where Christmas is white. around here it's more like sunshine and citrus colors:

our navels are ripe

crisp blue skies and changing leaves

a few Christmas reds in fallen leaves

it's neither snowy and cold, nor warm and summery here, as most of the world thinks of Christmas. what we have is bright sun, ripening fruit, and slightly cool weather. it's the best time of year, the time we love to call this our home. and it's Christmas, too. nothing better.
see y'all next year!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

until after christmas, then!

no. 1 elf daughter, d2, busy baking
 i was so busy with quilts this year, that the kids have done most of the christmas-ing around here. it was fun to see them take on baking and decorating completely by themselves, but i feel like i short-changed myself and them, too.

chocolate satin cookie people for gifting with caroling
  honestly, for the last few years, i've become a bit of a humbug. i am at the point where i would dispense with most of the season entirely. my house is so overflowing with toys, clothes, and whatnots already, that one more item will break the dam. we just don't need anything. gifting in these circumstances seems pointless and greedy.

 i've done the huge, over-blown, toyland-under-the-tree types of christmas, where i sit back on christmas eve nights, basking in the glow of the lights, surveying my christmas handiwork, and think to myself, "i did this! i make the magic." admittedly, it has been enjoyable. but i am left wanting. i am over that type of christmas, ready to move on to something deeper, more meaningful, more memory-based.

it's not that Christ has ever been missing from our Christmases. we're very religious around here and do a lot of religious events and activities through out the season. giving to others in need has long been a part of our celebrations, too. it's more about the pressure to be so many places and the christmas morning gift fest, with all the accompanying stress and expense beforehand, that leaves me wanting. maybe i'm just an idealist. but where is the simple, heartfelt christmas of the ingalls family? you know, little house on the prairie, where children get a set of red knit mittens and a few bits of candy, maybe a rag doll, in their stocking and are overjoyed about it. they were just happy to get a day to spend with the family, an evening with cousins spent eating few special dishes.

s1 did all the lights in the front yard himself
 my mr took over the gift giving for the kids last year. and we scaled back to one santa present, one parent gift. i, of course, still overstuffed their stockings with little goodies without meaning to. (how does all that stuff just build up so quickly?) letting him do the deciding was a big relief. but i still want something different. we don't need any of that stuff. can't we move toward christmas really being about giving rather than getting? i've been contemplating how to accomplish this for two years now and have yet to come up with anything brilliant.

i have to admit, though, that watching the kids give to each other is greatly satisfying. they earn their own money and buy the gifts themselves. i'm amazed at how excited they get over the things they do for each other. and sometimes at the expense they go to for their siblings, too. so although we might not need the extra trinkets around the house, it is gratifying to see them truly give of themselves.

endlessly stuffing cards
back to christmas present. i was engrossed in those 7 quilts i was trying to complete for christmas gifting and took it as a good opportunity to just ignore pretty much everything else. i was excited about giving them the quilts because it was much more meaningful to me that they have something made by their mother than another toy to litter the house. (dad and santa will still come through with a toy or two.) while i was quilting, two of my children took over all the decorating. and basically made a mess. they also did some of their own baking, which they are really good at, to deliver while caroling. i gamely went along for the caroling and was surprised to realize how much i was enjoying it.

cute detail shot courtesy of s1
after a week or two of watching them trying to create christmas around here, i started to feel guilty. i began to realize i was throwing the baby out with the bath water, so to speak. there is plenty of even non-religious stuff about the season that is good, that i like, that is worthy. apparently my children like it, too. they wanted a festive home, caroling to neighbors and friends, to bake for giving, to be with their family doing wholesome and creative things. i began to see that i was missing out on something important, on an opportunity to help christmas be about more than just the presents. to my children, it already is about more than getting presents. (to give them further credit, they really don't ask for or expect a whole lot in the the gift department. maybe it's more about me feeling like i have to figure out something they might like but don't need just so we can keep up with tradition.) i need to take a cue from them, to embrace those good parts they already cherish and encourage that.

in short, like in all other aspects of life, there needs to be balance.

i also realized my children's christmases are numbered and i'd better stay involved while i have the chance. making christmas about family time and togetherness happens now, while they are young and here. the older ones have already gotten that ingrained in their systems. i better make sure the younger ones do, too. it's going to require some exertion and careful planning from me for a few more years, and then it will all be gone.

so i backed off the quilts. i never did fix all the sloppy decorating. that can wait until next year. but i did start doing more of our normal holiday activities with the children and found a few extra "giving" activities to do. that means the quilts aren't going to be done. but christmas has been rescued, so it's okay. i still have quilts in various stages of completion that i'm going to gift them.

and i decided that next time i want to hand make any christmas gifts, it's all got to be done by thanksgiving. this leaves the season open to being together and making those memories we enjoy so much.

that said, last night, i got an unexpected chance to work on my sewing. the baby got sick, so i had to stay home from the extended family christmas party and watch her. i got about two hours of sewing done before she started throwing up, refocusing my attention elsewhere.

 i've added one little item to my making list (that i threw out): an apron for d3. she's had these two bright and crazy fat quarters in her sewing box for over a year or more. she wanted to make an apron out of them. when d4 brought home the cute red and aqua apron (on the left) from a party, i knew i had a quick and easy pattern for d3's apron. i'm going to make a skirt out of the pink fat quarter, use the polka dotted grosgrain ribbon for the ties, and use the floral to line the skirt and make the bodice. it should come together fairly quickly. i could have had it done last night, but realized that i should prewash it since it's clothing.

 while the fat quarters for the apron were washing, i got started on s1's wonky stacked coins quilt. with only 4 days left to Christmas, i did not think i was going to get to touch this one and was trying to figure out what to gift him. but it looks like i'll have a few blocks, at least, to put under the tree.

i'm using the same blue solid from s2's "bandwidth" quilt for the background fabric on this one. the prints are a variety of graphic blue, green, orange, and grey prints. i included a few of the prints he liked from his brother's quilt, too, so the two quilts will coordinate but not exactly match each other.

i have to say, this was really, really fun to put together! all the improv cutting and sewing is very cool. i'm not working from scraps, like the pattern in the book is designed for, so i've modified the methods a bit. i'll share them later when there's time.

as for the last and final project, i've been blanket stitching the flowers for d4's pillow sham whenever the girls bathe at night. some good ole splish splash stash time like in the beginning of my sewing days. i still have no real plan for the sham. i think it might be best to gift her the flowers as they are so i can consult with her over what to do with them.


it's the last weekend before Christmas. here's my final installation on the making Christmas list:

d1 - "plus a diamond" needs handbinding

s1 - wonky stacked coins blocks begun

d2 - "taite" worked on handbinding

s2 - "bandwidth" top completed, sandwiched, basted

d3 - "twirly" needs handbinding

d4 - flowered pillow sham some flower centers blanket stitched

d5 - "paris daydreams" sandwiched and basted

penny patch qal - a flimsy, on hold until all children's quilts done

the final link party for making Christmas is with Janine at rainbow hare.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

spray basting - not a fan

yesterday i pieced two quilt backs: "paris daydreams" and "bandwidth."  i found out why my girls had such a hard time holding the flimsy up for the photograph - this fella is huge! i wanted it to be around 72" x 80ish", but didn't measure how the length was coming out as i added in the solid blue panels. turns out my top is more like 71" x 99"! it's long and skinny, like my son. i had to crack open a queen sized batting to accommodate the length. oh, well. we expect this son to be tall. this quilt should keep him covered for life. i had to piece the backing a lot more than expected. i used the yardage i bought for the back, another yard, and bits leftover from the front strips.  it's barely big enough, but i wasn't going any bigger. i can always trim off some of the blue panel ends if it doesn't work out when quilted.

my formal living room now looks like a quilt bazar. there are two basted sandwiches and two flimsies sprawling about. the flimsies aren't even for christmas, they are on hold until i can get the christmas gifts done. 
i gave spray basting a go. it seemed like the best way to get 3 or 4 quilts basted at one time so that i could gift them in a state that at least resembled a finished quilt. i don't have enough pins to do that many sandwiches at once, so it had to be spraying. since i decided on this measure so late in the season, i was unable to order any spray online. i picked up a can of (i think) thermoweb at joann craft's with a half-off coupon. but i wasn't confident it was a good brand. so while at the quilt store the other day, i asked what they recommended. 505, of course. but they didn't have any and i was told to stop by another nearby sewing store to see if they had any 505 or Sullivan's in stock. the experienced quilter who was advising me assured me Sullivan's was her favorite and that it didn't stink. Sullivan's was all they had at the other store, so it was the winner.

i had hopes of liking spray basting, but they were soon dashed. perhaps it's the brand i got. however, there are things about the entire process i just didn't like. after getting the 2 quilt sandwiches basted, i'm leery of doing any more. the large quilt, especially, was difficult to manage.

Sullivan's smells just like rubber cement, if you can remember that from your elementary school days. it doesn't last long, but there is most definitely a smell. there is also an overspray residue no matter how careful i was. i tried not to shy away from the edges to ensure that they would stick well, but it was hard not to. fortunately, for me, i was basting on a large, well-ventilated, tile floor area, so the residue should come up easily.

i opened the nearby courtyard doors, as well as my front and back doors, to keep the air circulating while i worked. there was a nice breeze blowing through, which kept the fumes moving. it also brought a lot of fall leaves in! (see photo above.) i know a few tiny ones got sandwiched in the quilt, despite my efforts to remove all of them. then the doors starting blowing open and closed, leaves were flying everywhere, dogs and kids were curious. it was like a bad comedy seen from primetime tv. all i could do was laugh and keep working. ok, i did want to cry a bit, too. laughing and pressing forward seemed better, though.

i got out some of my old towels to line the sides of the second quilt while i sprayed. there was still residue right along the edges of the quilt, all over the towels, and beyond them. i think a bit of the stuff just floats on the air until it settles somewhere no how you try to avoid it.

my socks were picking it up as i walked around. they also picked up a few other things, like leaves and fabric scraps.

i had a hard time getting the top smooth in a few places. it was a matter of being patient, pulling the fabric up, and repositioning very carefully, but i didn't like it a bit. the time difference was not significant enough to justify spraying over pinning. thank goodness the spray is repositionable!

i will say the top turned out pretty darn smooth. it was definitely easier to get all the seams to lay flat working this way. however, the back does not look as smooth as the front. it's slightly ripply or pocked looking. there are no full-out wrinkles, mind you, but it has a texture of sorts. i'm not sure how this is going to fair when i go to quilt.

i have yet to see how the machine and my needles react to the spray basting.

also, i'm uncertain how well the sandwiches are going to hold together until i get them quilted. i'm afraid to let anyone handle them, which was rather the point of basting this way. in addition, I'm concerned that the can says the product's properties will "lessen or diminish" with washing rather than saying it will wash out. did i just add some nasty chemicals to my babies' quilts that they will be inhaling while they cuddle their mama-mades?

it's definitely pins for me from now on.
besides, d4 will be out of a quilting job if there aren't any pins for her to remove.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

how not to shoot a flimsy

 along side of working with my youngest scholars, i got the top for "bandwidth" completed. the top being done, the flimsy needed to be documented and shared. but all i had to help me photograph it was two short children and a porch swing. this is apparently a very long top because even with the aid of the two short children (they are actually tall for their ages), and the porch swing, they couldn't get it fully off the ground.

also willing to help was one toddler . . .

 . . . and three curious dogs.

we used to have just one completely obnoxious pharaoh hound, but whilst away at disneyland with teenagers over the weekend, the babysitter let two stray chihuahua adolescents in the house. we've been unable to locate the owners yet and aren't heartless enough to boot them back out in the cold, as much as we'd like to . still hoping for a Christmas miracle for them and us.

even with the unwanted helpers out of the way, this was as close as i got to a shot of the new flimsy. the colors are washed out on the top (but the citrus tree looks great!). i'll aim for a more technically accurate photo once i have the quilt completed.

as anticipated, the addition of the large solid panels really calmed down the high energy of all those print strip sections. for the record, i chose the slightly deeper, less-flat blue. i'm liking the results just fine.

now i need to make three backing and baste some sandwiches!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

progress and resignation

 i'm home from my whirlwind visit with the mouse and back in the quilting business. the mr and i took our oldest daughter and five of her friends to disneyland for a day. they were 6 really well behaved teenage girls. it was way easier than taking our own 7 children! however, it was still exhausting with one day of driving there, 9am to midnight in the park (but we did ride everything!), and one day in the car home. i worked on quilt binding during the drive. when i wasn't sleeping most of the way home, that is.

despite the binding, it feels like ages since i last worked on anything fabric. the holiday season just isn't allowing for much time. however, that is as it should be. i should be celebrating, not still working on gifts. i'll either finish the quilts in time or i won't, but i'm done with letting the quilts take over the holiday. with about one week left, i've decided to focus on my family and Christmas, not the quilts. i would still very much like to get them done, but i'm not going to stress about it.

my plan C (or wherever we are now) is to have all the quilts sandwiched and basted for gifting. i figure a basted quilt closely resembles the final product and will give them a good idea of what they're getting. to help with this, i opted to give spray basting a try. we shall see how that goes. i'm a bit nervous to try it, but i simply don't have enough pins to baste 3 lap quilts at one time.

last night i completed the 3 segments of strips for s2's quilt, "bandwidth." they are pinned on the board for the moment. (if you look, you can see the white spaces between them.) tonight i hope to get the large solid panels in place. i have 2 different navy solids: one flatter and slightly grey looking, one a bit more vibrant. still debating on this, but it'll be decided soon enough.

i'm feeling somewhat better about how it's looking now that i have the strips pieced. i think the breathing room of the solid panels will really help calm it down. the fact that my oldest son has twice now asked if this is his quilt and been disappointed that it's not also has me thinking maybe i've done alright here. "are you at least going to use some of the same fabrics in my quilt?" we'll see, son. maybe. that's another day and another quilt, though.

last minute gifts

the holiday season is in full swing, Christmas right around the corner. if you are in need of some last minute, handmade gifts, you might find this free e-book helpful. and i just happen to be in it. my fat quarter lollies even made the cover. the friendly folks at have put together 12 patterns for gift giving; all free.

i had no idea when i wrote up that tutorial that i was writing something that would be "published" someday. if i'd known, i might have written it differently! hopefully, it stands well enough as it is.
Quilter's Gift Guide: 12 Quilt Patterns for Small Quilt Projects and Keepsake Quilting eBook

It seems like there's always a reason to be giving a gift, and when you're busy, finding time to go to the store can seem impossible. You won't need to again if you have our "Quilter's Gift Guide: 12 Quilt Patterns for Small Quilt Projects and Keepsake Quilting" eBook handy! Many of these cute small quilt projects can be made in less than a day, and they only require a small amount of fabric. Our collection has cute projects and heartwarming keepsake quilts for family, friends, and even pets!

Whether the Christmas season is coming up, or you're looking for a fun way to surprise the members of your quilting bee, this gift guide will come in handy. There are quilting projects that involve many different skill sets, so you'll have no problem finding something that you can make with ease.

It seems like there's always a reason to be giving a gift, and when you're busy, finding time to go to the store can seem impossible. You won't need to again if you have our "Quilter's Gift Guide: 12 Quilt Patterns for Small Quilt Projects and Keepsake Quilting" eBook handy! Many of these cute small quilt projects can be made in less than a day, and they only require a small amount of fabric. Our collection has cute projects and heartwarming keepsake quilts for family, friends, and even pets!

Whether the Christmas season is coming up, or you're looking for a fun way to surprise the members of your quilting bee, this gift guide will come in handy. There are quilting projects that involve many different skill sets, so you'll have no problem finding something that you can make with ease.

It seems like there's always a reason to be giving a gift, and when you're busy, finding time to go to the store can seem impossible. You won't need to again if you have our "Quilter's Gift Guide: 12 Quilt Patterns for Small Quilt Projects and Keepsake Quilting" eBook handy! Many of these cute small quilt projects can be made in less than a day, and they only require a small amount of fabric. Our collection has cute projects and heartwarming keepsake quilts for family, friends, and even pets!

Whether the Christmas season is coming up, or you're looking for a fun way to surprise the members of your quilting bee, this gift guide will come in handy. There are quilting projects that involve many different skill sets, so you'll have no problem finding something that you can make with ease.


Saturday, December 14, 2013

"in hand" epp link party #3

how has your epp coming along, friends? have the holidays slowed you down? this is definitely the case for me. i'm currently trying to complete 7 different quilts (on the machine) by christmas, so handsewing time has been limited. thankfully, i do have a few hours in the car coming up that will be giving me time to revisit my epp. unless the mr makes me drive, of course. but he usually doesn't. i'm being forced to drop everything and run off to disneyland for 2 days with 6 teenage girls.

i got some sewing done at the dentist office, waiting for my 7 kids to have their check-ups and cleanings. a few volleyball games for my 11 year old daughter were the only other chances i got to epp this month. i think all i've managed since last month's party is a bit of basting and that partially finished block in the bottom left corner.

today i laid out all my blocks to see just where i stand. as you can see, i have one partially completed wheel, 10 wheels, 1 half wheel, and 2 - 3wheel sections. it's about time to make some rows, i think.

here are a few highlights from the party last month:

i've seen frances of fabadashery's nearly insane quilt blocks on and off for a while, but only recently realized they were epp! you really do need to stop by and take a gander at her beautiful, intricate, red and white blocks.

michelle, of michelle bartholomew handmade quilts, has possibly the largest epp pieces that i have seen to date. i believe she told me her triangles are 2.5" sides. she's made most of them out of old clothing she's repurposed into this really lovely star project, which she calls "shooting stars."

heidi, of red letter quilts, takes the prize for the longest-running epp project of the group. she's been making one of these flowers per year for 21 years now. what a scrapbook of your sewing over time!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

it's a boy

i've finally begun my first of two boy quilts for my sons. last year, i bought a jelly roll of "superstar" by riley blake with the intention of working up a simple grouped-strips-and-open-space-panels quilt. i made a pattern that i called "bandwidth" - i think the name originated from a garbled idea of those bars that dance up and down on the stereo when music's playing and radio bandwidths. this time last year, i really liked this idea. i wanted an easy, quick pattern i could knock out for the boy.

but this time this year, i wanted more than just the one fabric line and also didn't like so much my picks for the wide open spaces. i bought some different solids to audition for the panels and picked out some coordinating prints to compliment the jelly roll, which i culled.

i cut all the strips yesterday and began piecing them together. (it was night time when i was working, sorry for the lousy photos.) it's coming along quickly, but i'm not at all sure about how this is going to look. i think i have a train wreck going here. even with the addition of the new fabrics, i am mostly likely making one big pile of "that's really ugly but my mama made it, so i love it anyway." i just don't know, friends!

this is the first section of strips completed. i'm thinking of using either the flat navy blue or the stone grey for the panels. maybe. i'm so totally undecided.

and at this point, two weeks away from Christmas and with 2 flimsy and 2 USO's (un started objects) on my plate, i'm just in need of a quilt! what on earth do i do? press forward, with my eyes closed and fingers crossed. if he really doesn't like it, and i'll know by how much he uses it, i'll get him another one made in the next year or so. i'll likely make him another one before all is said and done anyway.

wish me luck!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

wish/to do list for 2014

i'm so good, i'm planning ahead for next year's quilting already. that was kind of a joke, the "i'm so good part", anyway. really, this is just me having way more to do than i can actually accomplish right now. i have 4 quilts at the top of my list to make.

first up, because it's a quilt-along for January, is sarah's awesome barn door quilt pattern. i started pulling some yellow/light green/browns for it (above). kind of floral and funky. i need to find more low-volumes, especially one like sarah's mini dot, and maybe another really dark brown for this. this pull is either totally awesome or really horrid. there is usually a fine line between the two for me.

i'm also going to get back to my spring house hst diamond quilt. i'm just making this up as i go, from my own whimsy. however, i have seen a few out there since i thought this up this summer. some patterns are just obvious, you know? so obvious lots of people design them independently of each other.

i did a big no-no a few weeks ago and bought a new pattern. this is bad of me because: 1) i already own dozens of patterns and books of patterns (not to mention all the great free stuff on the internet); 2) i have really been enjoying making up my own patterns or doing some simple improv lately; 3) the individual pattern was about half the price of a book, meaning it cost as much as i'd normally get 6 patterns for. but, dang it!, just look at how awesome this pattern is. meg really nailed it something fierce with the luminaries quilt.

i immediately thought of my anna maria horner/amy butler pile when i saw this pattern. upon closer inspection, i see she actually used AMH for her sample quilt, which means i'm not as brilliant or original as i thought. so this is one step closer to using up my stash. that, plus the sheer beauty of the design, justified the purchase for me.

meg made the quilt from scraps, so i have no illusions that this stack of fabric will disappear with this quilt. but that's good because i'd also like to use some of these in larger pieces that will feature them better. i had been considering a colorblock-type quilt before. maybe i can do a large colorblock backing and the luminaries on the front. two quilts in one. that sounds kind of exciting! oh, let's go start cutting! (refocusing myself back to what's on the table as i type. focus, hydee, focus! this must be where my boys get it from.)

penny patch 2.0 in teal and aqua blues/apple green/ greys/ fuschia pop.

of course, there is also the "leftover pennies" quilt to make, too. but i'm not itching to get to that just yet. it's a bit down the line.

honestly, if I can get these four quilts done, i'll be doing pretty darn good. this should take me through at least the first 6 months of the year and the fabriholics anonymous fast. see, I don't need to worry a bit about that fast! easy-peasy. let the new year and quilts begin!

I'm linking this in to Rebecca lynne's fabriholics anonymous wip/ufo link party.

Monday, December 9, 2013

it's official - i'm stocked

it's definitely official - i can call meadowdot in robin's egg/mint/whatever not only my all-time favorite, but also my signature fabric because i am now stocked beyond my wildest dreams. thanks to all the lovely ladies, starting with lucy on down, i was able to acquire several yards earlier this year. and now, thanks to natalie christensen, the craftin' mechanic, via rebecca's favorite fabric swap link up, i found another whopping 10 3/4 yards   of meadowdot at a small online shop!

merry Christmas, to me. i am now free to use it in abandon in any project i please without fear of not having enough left over. my first plans for it are to make a quilt, probably a plus quilt, out of my very first fabric purchase (the wheel of fabrics in my banner) and use meadowdot as the backing.

i was inspired by this plus quilt from blue elephant stitches. when i saw it, those first fabrics immediately came to mind. i think it might be a good pattern for them. with a meadowdot backing!

beyond that, all i know is that this new bit won't fit in the basket. i lost track, but i think maybe i have around 20 yards now. oh, glorious problem!

**in case you read my "hoard" post about limiting my purchases, and are wondering about this post, it was written and scheduled before my pledge with fabricholics anonymous.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

still making christmas

 "twirly" is at the 95% finished stage: binding is machine sewn to the top, needs to be handstitched to the back. it's now completed enough to gift for Christmas and has moved to the handbinding que, which is behind the top completed/quilted que. i am quite pleased to report that i got the binding put together and fully on the quilt without having to consult one single tutorial or photo anywhere.

i get binding now! i know how to do it all by my big self, i can actually visualize how and why it works the way it does. this is a big step forward for me as a quilter. it was a tiny bit tight after i attached the tails, but i got it to sew on the top with no problems or weird puckering, so it's a success.

i did take an extra-long time, going super slow, to see if i could get the seam allowance more exact, thus making for perfectly balanced binding. it was tedious. we'll see if it was worthwhile or not when i do the handstitching.

in the interest of moving my Christmas makes along, yesterday i decided to forgo exercise, personal grooming, or a change of clothing in order that i might give all my attention to getting this thing done! sometimes sacrifices are made in the name of the greater quilting good. (today, however, i gave my children a slightly better example of motherhood by showering and dressing myself.)

i owe big thanks to my quilting crew for the large group, concerted effort to get this quilt completed. my number one pin remover did a great job depinning for me. littlest sister did her part by running around on the quilt, stealing everything she could get her grubby little hands on, and bringing over a ruler to take measurements for her own personal entertainment. (liz, princess would have died to see all 3 of us actually on the quilt at the same time!)

these are her go-to tools. and they are definitely hers if you judge by the way she screeches, "mine!MINE!!!" and sprints whenever she finds them.

the final quilting of the straight lines with the fmq foot went badly. very badly, indeed. but it's done and i've moved on. i'm hoping that when the creases from the hera marker disappear, and you can no longer see where the stitching was supposed to be as opposed to where it ended up, it won't look so poor. but that will only help a little, i'm afraid.

my only other concern: d3, who this is intended for, said yesterday she has decided she wants "her" quilt to have animals all over it. she doesn't seem too interested in this quilt. i hope it's not a huge disappointment when she opens up her gift and finds "twirly" inside.

on the funny side, d4 was trying to figure out who this was for when we were working on pins. she asked if it was hers (at least someone is interested!). nope.

"oldest sister?" nope.

"second oldest sister?" nope.
she was hot on the trail and i was preparing to evade the next question without directly lying to her when she asked (or maybe i said, can't remember exactly)

"oldest brother?" yes! oldest brother.

laughing hard, she replied, "but mom! this is a girl color quilt. why did you pick girl colors for a boy?" oh. i thought he liked pink. doesn't he like pink?

"no, he likes purple." i guess i made a mistake. do you think he'll like it?

she had a lot of fun telling everyone all day that the pink quilt was for oldest brother, that silly mom thought he liked pink. i can only hope d3, whose name i have quilted into the stippling, decides she likes a quilt that twirls like she does. even without animals or her favorite color: purple. in my defense, i started this quilt with her in mind last December before her color preference was so decidedly fixed. i hope what her younger sister d4 said, that d3 hates pink, isn't true! it'll need a Christmas miracle otherwise.

my week 8 making Christmas update:

d1 - "plus a diamond" needs handbinding

s1 - wonky stacked coins not started

d2 - "taite" needs handbinding

s2 - "bandwidth" fabric selections made, strips being cut
d3 - "twirly" quilted, binding machine attatched

d4 - flowered pillow sham some flower centers blanket stitched

d5 - "paris daydreams" flimsy

penny patch qal - top completed; a flimsy
linking in to the making Christmas blog hop and link party hosted by lucy at charm about you this 8th week.